No time to write!

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Sorry about the lack of posts recently but we are in the middle of moving from Spain to Southern Ireland. With seven rescue cats and 2 dogs it is no simple matter and I have just arrived back at our home in Spain with a large van and a horse-box which I am currently converting to give the animals a comfy home for the three-day journey .

rainbow

 

The property, pictured above has two acres of land and it will be a real base where WTFAW can provide more practical animal welfare solutions.

We plan to be in the new property by the 8th of May so will be quite busy to that point and a little beyond I suspect! I will try to update the site as often as I can in the meanwhile.

 

Dandylion and Mushroom Risotto

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Having just moved to rural Ireland I have discovered the joys of foraging on my early morning walks. If I survive my experiments I will post a few recipes for you to try, safe in the knowledge that i tried it on myself first :)

Dandelions are the scourge of most gardeners, but all the plant can be eaten and they are great in salads or in dishes like this. I have been told the open flowers are great dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried, so will be trying that one soon!

preparation

Find young plants and pluck the closed buds and leaves. Do not pick from busy roadsides.

Serves one so just multiply for several diners

Ingredients

Splash olive oil

1 small red onion (or wild onion if you can find them)

Half handful of dandelion buds unopened

2 cloves of garlic (replace with wild garlic if you can find it

½ cup risotto rice

A couple of medium mushrooms chopped.

1 handful of dandelion leaves washed without stalks

Splash dry white wine

A cup and a half of vegetable stock

1 Tablespoon hummus

¼ lemon

Dandielion Risotto

 

Method

Chop the onions, crush and chop the garlic and put into pot along with the dandelion buds. Sweat for a few minutes, then add the rice and sweat for a couple more. Add mushrooms and wine, and cook until liquid has gone. Add half a cup of stock and the dandelion leaves and simmer stirring occasionally, gradually adding more stock as needed. When rice is cooked add seasoning and stir in Hummus. Serve with a couple of slices of your favourite bread and a squeeze of lemon.

How can we hurt whales?

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Breathe Again

I rise to meet the salty roof of my world

To breathe the life giving air and then again

To dive deep to safety sounding my intent

The risk is above but I need to breathe

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Over vast distances we communicate with power

Our voices reaching kin a hundred miles distant

We tell of events giving news of life and death

And listen to the danger closing from all sides

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The thrum of steel goliaths is a constant companion

Their alien sounds drives fear deep into our ancient hearts

They move above with greedy and relentless intent

They will turn our watery world blood red

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For thousands of years our journeys gave us life

Now they are the cause of our demise

The steel goliaths know well our plans

But we cannot change and we must breathe

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Screams of anguish from ancient friends close by

Invade the senses and warn me to dive, but I cannot

I must rise; I need the life giving air to fill my lungs

I must risk again the steel and explosion of death

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So close now the time to expose my life once again

Light now infusing my world with terrible images

I know the voices wracked with pain and despair

I feel for their souls ripped unprepared from body

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My turn now a final push, I drive upwards just one intent

Leaving my world of watery support for seconds only

To breathe enough life giving air to live a while longer

Then dive to the safety of the deep beyond goliaths reach

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Human eyes with vicious intent focus on my mortality

The goliath drives against salty embrace to reach me

In haste to end my life to launch spear and explosion

A greed fuelled finger can end my existence now

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I fall towards the wave capped border of my world

Lungs filled I hear a deafening roar, a hiss of ruptured air

All that I am and was lives or dies in these seconds

Decided in this moment of ultimate greed

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In an explosion of a thousand watery tons

I enter my world again and dive for safety

Sounding my return to friend and family

Above the roar, bang and scream of goliath thwarted

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I have survived again to dive deep and be safe

To rejoice my survival for a little while longer

But above the goliath with patient malice waits

For me to breathe again

 

Badger Cull Works in Ireland?

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Here is an interesting article about the culling of badgers in Southern Ireland.

I am still of the opinion that culling has little to do with the decline in the number of cases of bovine TB. In Ireland a whole raft of other measures were introduced at the same time, such as a much more draconian movement of livestock regime.

The Irish government has stated that their preferred control method would be to vaccinate. but at the moment it is not cost-effective.

Perhaps all the large animal welfare charities and government should, instead of fighting each other, work together to raise enough funds to vaccinate.

Why not eat animals?

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I often question the reasons I do not eat most animals. For me it started nearly 20 years ago when two major events happened in my life. Before these events I was a prolific meat-eater, liking my steak rare and very rarely allowing a vegetable near my mouth. I can’t remember in which order these events occurred, and I will get in trouble for that, but one of them was living with my second wife Stef, who does not eat meat, and the second was from spending several days in a car with a lady called Heike Fix (I am sure I have spelt her name wrong and will get in trouble for that as well!) in Eastern Europe investigating the transport conditions for horses destined for slaughter. I think that the influence of both these people was the catalyst to make me change my meat-eating ways. Heike provided the shock and evidence related to the treatment of animals before and during slaughter, and Stef provided the home environment that enabled me to change to a non-meat diet without the problems associated with trying to prepare meatless meals at home, when the rest of the household is stuffing themselves on chicken nuggets and bacon.

I think one of the reasons I was able to give up meat without too much fuss was that I am one of life’s grazers. What I mean by that is that I have a personality that likes to keep moving and find new things to experience, very rarely settling into long-term routines. I also have a non-addictive nature, if I decide I don’t want to do anything anymore then I don’t find it too hard to stop. For instance when I decided to stop smoking it was not a major problem for me.

So you are probably thinking, based on the above, how long will it be before I change my mind about eating animals and go back to it? Well I am pretty sure it will never happen. To me, like smoking, killing and eating animals is now just fundamentally the wrong thing to do. It goes far beyond my need to find new things to do, it is something that affects everything I do and every decision I make.

Many people have told me that I change my mind a lot, and it’s true. But in reality it is because I have lots of ideas and in my enthusiasm I tend to talk about them before I have thought them through. Sometimes you have to go some way down the road with an idea before you can make an educated guess about if it is something you should pursue or not. With animal welfare I have travelled many of them roads and am committed to the general direction, but, I can still not decide how far I should go.

When I first decided to give up eating meat I did my normal thing. It was not good enough for me to go vegan, oh no, I had to go frugarian, which is only eating the parts of any plant that can be given without killing the host, or which the host would give up in its normal life cycle. For instance, nearly all fruits, seeds, such as rice and wheat, and non-root vegetables, such as beans and peas. I don’t think Stef was too pleased with our frugarian wedding reception! Since then I have been a fully fledged vegan and most things in between, but I have never gone back to eating the flesh of land animals again.

So here I am 20 odd years on from making my decision not to eat meat, still trying to decide how far down this life changing road I should go and why. I know, and have known many inspirational animal welfare people who have collectively rescued or improved the lives of tens of thousands, if not millions of animals, and all but a few of those animal welfare giants, ate animals. I have been to functions hosted by some of the largest animal welfare organisations where there was no animal friendly food available at all! And I suspect that only a small percentage of the staff and volunteers of most animal welfare organizations, are non-meat eaters, so how does that work?

In my case, in an ideal world I would like not to cause the death of any sentient being simply because I do not want to cause suffering so that I can eat a more varied type of food. I know that I can survive without animal protein but now and then I weaken and will eat some fish or other sea based life such as prawns. When drawn on the subject in conversation I have in the past stated that my main objection to meat-eating is the way animals are farmed, and that I have less qualms about eating animals that have lived a natural existence, such as non-factory farmed fish. But in reality deep down I believe that it is wrong to take the life of any other species unless my life is not tenable without doing so. And that is just not the case; in fact the opposite is true. To my mind it is a proven fact that the consumption of meat, apart from causing so much suffering is causing terrible problems to the environment and the health of the human species. You don’t have to look to hard to find pretty conclusive evidence that cancer, obesity, greenhouse gasses, and lots of other bad things are associated to our need for copious amounts of animal flesh.

Why then do I, having considered this for so many years, and believing that it’s wrong to do so, weaken now and then? To be honest, I think it just comes down to a lack of will power and is normally associated with going out or a special occasion where prawns or piece of fish somehow becomes too hard to resist. Mind you with most restaurants, especially where we live in Spain, offering zero choices when it comes to vegan friendly food you can understand why many non-animal eaters hate going out to eat.

Although I am quite passionate about my belief that eating our fellow creatures is wrong for so many reasons, (ok yes I know I don’t practice what I preach 100%,) I am disappointed that I have not knowingly converted anybody to live an animal friendly lifestyle. All my children, my parents, my brothers and sisters, most of my friends and many of my colleagues all eat meat.  Either I am a terrible advert for not eating meat, or the temptation for the products animals bring to the table is just too strong to resist, or my concern for the welfare of animals is misplaced and I should go out, slay a cow and tuck in.

If any of you have managed to read this far and are still awake enough to reply, I would appreciate your thoughts on why you do, or do not animals. Actually writing this has been quite cathartic for me and has if anything has focused me more on living a lifestyle that does not adversely affect the quality or length of life, of my fellow creatures.

The Story of Lamby

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WARNING, THIS STORY CONTAINS DISTURBING SCENES OF VIOLENCE, ABUSE AND DEATH.

There were once three sheep. Rammy sheep, Ewey sheep and Lamby sheep.

One day Rammy sheep’s owner decided he would like some lambs, so the big sheep farmers grabbed Rammy and held him tight whilst they jammed a probe up his anus and pushed the button to send a jolt of electricity through his prostate. Poor old Rammy could do nothing except ejaculate. His owner was very pleased and let poor traumatized Rammy go….for now.

Then the thrifty farmer’s men grabbed Ewey, turned her upside down and forced a syringe full of Rammy’s semen into her womb. Poor Ewey found this very distressing; she was only six months old. This wasn’t how she had imagined her first time at all!

Now, little Ewey would normally have her babies in the spring, so they have best chance to thrive on the fresh grass and warming weather. But clever old thrifty farmer found a way to fool her into having her babies in the winter, so he can get the best price at market.

Lamby is born on a freezing cold winter’s day, along with lots of other cold shivering babies. Lamby is such a lucky lamb not to die like many of the others. A few days after birth, Mr thrifty farmer grabs Lamby and puts a plastic band on his tail and gentiles, and a nice big tag is punched through his ear with his very own number on it. This hurts poor Lamby for many days, but after a while his manhood and tail drop off, and he is free to jump and play with the other lucky lambs.

After six months Lamby’s life is getting better, until Mr thrifty farmer rounds him and all his friends up, and puts them all into a big lorry. Poor Lamby and his friends shout for their mums, but no one listens and off they go to the market. The big lorry is very frightening as it roars down the road, all the lambs squeeze together. Then they reach the market which is a frightening place, full of sticks and loud voices.

After hours in the frightening market, it’s back on a lorry. Lamby and all his friends are now in shock and tired. They just want the safety familiarity of the fields and the company of their mums.

But when the lorry stops again there is no green field to greet Lamby and his friends, and no Mummy’s to comfort them, just the smell of death and the touch the electric probe that rips the life from Lamby in violent convulsions, ending his short sad life.

Some of Lamby’s friends are not so lucky, they are not killed with the shock so feel the cold steel of the knives on their necks and convulse with pain as their lives bleed away.

Some days later little James asks his Mummy,

“What are we having for lunch Mummy?” His mommy replies,

“How you would like some nice roast Lamby dear?”

ALL THE CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY ARE FICTIONAL, BUT THE STORY REFLECTS THE LIVES OF BILLIONS OF SHEEP AND LAMBS USED TO FEED HUMANS EVERY YEAR

IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FOOD YOU EAT THEN VISIT http://www.saawinternational.org/sheepandlambs.htm OR ANY OF THE ORGANISATIONS TRYING TO STOP THIS NEEDLESS CRUELTY.

WOULD WE CARE

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If animals could say please stop

Would that halt the deadly chop

Would it make us change our ways

And give them happy carefree days

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If, as the knackers blade came down

His victim did just more than frown

If animals shouted loud and clear

Would anybody want to hear

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Would their voices newly found

Fall on fertile caring ground

Or would we all just turn away

And let the knackers have their day

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